Pick up a pen and try to write during the first moment of the day

2018: Day 3 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 7,244 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Watching a show on Netflix may have slowed down my writing output today. I’m not entirely sure why I watched the latest season of The Ranch on Netflix. It is probably the same reason that I keep watching The Curse of Oak Island on the History channel season after season. Sometimes a good treasure hunt is enough to hold my attention. Maybe at some point the Netflix show producing algorithm will figure out how to mix The Ranch with a good old fashioned treasure hunt. That seems like a path toward failed plotlines and general ridiculous.

Topic 1: Day three may have been the best day yet

Things were running a little bit slow this morning. Welcome to the start of the day. It is either very cloudy or the sun is not up yet. It very well could be that both conditions were true. This cup of coffee is not that hot. Coffee has this magical zone between being overly cold and being overly hot. Today was one of those days where from the start I could drink the coffee straight away. It tastes like a dark maybe somewhat stale french roast of some sort. Maybe it would have been a good idea to read the sign before pouring it. Things like that seem to be less important during the first hour of the day. Waking up and immediately writing is not really something that is going to ever happen. It takes a couple of minutes to get going. Planning on a productive morning writing session may not be the best idea. You could say that I am an early riser. Those first few moments of the day are simply not my favorite moments.

During the course of traveling I have always turned on the ESPN television channel in the morning. Mike & Mike in the morning was a staple of my traveling routine. For some inexplicable reason the near perfect broadcasting tandem of Mike & Mike has now become Golic & Wingo. I’m reserving my judgment on the new program for another couple of weeks. Arriving at a true broadcasting partnership may take them a little bit of time. Watching sports programming in the morning is really about that first fifteen minutes or so of the day. Those minutes are not entirely useful. They occur during a boot up phase that just sort of happens. Tomorrow for fun I am going to set a pad of paper and a pen by the bed under my phone. Alarms will go off. I will pick up the pen and try to write for 5 minutes straight.

Picking up a pen during the first few moments of the day and trying to write should be a very attainable goal. Finding the time for epic writing sessions is what the march toward writing 1,000,000 words in a year is all about. Writers write. Writing an average of 3,000 words per day involves making about a 2 hour commitment. According to statistics from my Fitbit my average night of sleep is less than 8 hours. To make the math a little more interesting I’m going to round up and accept 8 hours as an average night of sleep. 8 hours out of 24 breaks down to 33.33% (repeating of course) of the day. If you can spend 1/3 of the day sleeping, then working toward writing for 2 hours per day or 8.33% (repeating) should be easy. Writing 3,000 words per day is for better or worse a daily commitment of 8.33% from each day. Between working and sleeping you are probably talking about having 2/3 of your day automatically committed. That means that you have to figure out what you want to do with the 1/3 of the day within your control. Obviously, I am making the decision to spend over 730 hours writing in 2018. That might seem like a large number. It is only 8.33% of the 8,760 hours that will make up the totality of 2018.

Topic 2: Working toward writing 1,000 word essays

Let’s face it sitting down and writing 3,000 words on the same topic in one shot is a very elusive goal to try to achieve. Working toward writing a series of 1,000 word essays is a more reasonable goal. It probably would have been a better idea to try to write about 500 words at a time and move from topic to topic. That probably is not going to work to help push things forward. Daily writing can be about observing and reacting to external stimulus in a written form. Alternatively, daily writing could be about reflection and writing out internal monologue. Either way the process of writing is generally about taking a topic and exploring it. That exporation tends to be wholey a function of how the writing engages in the process.

My personal writing process tends to be a mixture of stream of consciousness style writing and highly outlined prose generation. Sometimes you sit down with a piece of paper and a pen to outline a future writing project. You can take and expand each section within an outline with annotation to bring forward robust details. Imagine a process where you build a loaf of bread by putting together one crumb at a time. Within that analogy it would not be a process of re-assembling a loaf of bread. It would really in truth be the process of assembly. Bread normally comes together through a baking process. You pull of the ingredients together and allow a variety of processes to occur depending on what type of bread is being made.

Topic 3: Random stream of consciousness style writing

Writing with a purpose. Writing driven by a definitive point of view. Striving forward to write about things that matter in a meaningful day. Those are things that I know need to be a part of my daily writing routine. Much of what I write is driving by basic somewhat random stream of consciousness style writing. To me that means sitting down in front of a blank page or maybe an otherwise blank word processing document and writing. The exercise usually begins in the same way. You can have an idea that sparks the need to write. Accepting that spark of inspiration and sitting down to write is a different process than engaging in pure stream of consciousness style writing. My sleep threshold is pretty low. I can clear my mind and fall asleep just about anywhere at just about any time. That is almost the same way writing normally starts for me.

It works like this. Everything gets setup to get going and start writing. I clear my mind of any worries, concerns, or any real thoughts about anything. In that moment of pure acceptance of my surroundings nothing is really happening. From that nothing something normally springs forward into existence. That could very well be both the best and worst part of the process. Sometimes a writing session will produce absolute nonsense. Other times it producing something that is usable and useful.

Topic 4: Two alarms went off this morning

A vibration based alarm on my Fitbit started to wake me up at 5:30 AM. That alarm never really seems to be 100% effective. At 5:35 AM a rather loud alarm on my Pixel 2 XL phone started blaring. It was louder and did require me to move a lot farther to turn it off. That was enough to start the process. I fumbled around to find the remote control. Without really looking at the buttons a few flicks turned on the television. It seemed like a good idea to navigate from the information channel to the flagship ESPN television channel. Both Golic and Wingo seemed happy to be on television today. I’m sure having the new show and the combination of college and professional football being in full swing helps matters.

A pad of paper and a pen were sitting right next to the bed. I knew my goal was to sit up and start writing from the very first moment of the day. Somehow that goal turned into a moonshot. It was not something that was going to happen. The day started with a few minutes watching Golic & Wingo on the television. I managed to walk by the pad of paper and ignore it before starting the day with a shower. Two choices existed for coffee today. The hotel provides some type of french roast coffee and a nearby Starbucks sells a wide variety of coffee. Naturally, I would have liked to have two shots of espresso and begin the day. Instead I settled for a cup of french roast coffee. Probably 90% of all coffee I have consumed was not mixed with anything. Coffee without anything added to it remains and probably will always be my prefered beverage. That previous statement probably should be modified somehow to include espresso. Revision operational definitions after the fact remains a questionable practice. Consider that reality acknowledged.

Commercials do make the new Fitbit Ionic smart watch look pretty good. I’m on my third Fitbit band/watch. My original fitbit band had this tiny sense pebble inside the band. It was a difficult to charge and it ended up failing at some point. My next Fitbit was highly forgettable. It was the Fitbit Surge and it was easier to charge if memory serves me correctly. It got torn and i purchased a Fitbit Blaze. Oddly enough that purchase provided a stable and usable watch. It works well enough and I have a nice looking metal bend for it that makes it feel like a regular watch. Given that it is a perfectly serviceable and working fitness watch I do not really feel the need to purchase the newer Fitbit Ionic watch. Incremental product improvements between versions are often not enough to encourage me to upgrade.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
San Antonio, Texas
Written on a ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— Short story “The Knock”

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.

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